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Ill. gov. cuts off B of A from state biz

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Ill. gov. cuts off B of A from state biz
Martin Rodriguez and other workers from Republic Windows and Doors occupy the plant after it was shut down by management on December 6, 2008 in Chicago. Workers refuse to leave until they get promised severance and vacation pay. (UPI Photo/David Banks) | License Photo

CHICAGO, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich Monday ordered the state to stop doing business with Bank of America over its refusal to loan money to a Chicago window maker.

About 200 workers at Republic Windows & Doors were in the fourth day of a sit-in to protest the sudden shutdown of the firm and the company's refusal to issue severance and vacation pay. The company has said Bank of America's decision to cut the company's line of credit made it impossible for it to give the required 60 days notice under federal law or to pay its workers.

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Bank of America has said it isn't responsible for the company's financial obligations.

Blagojevich joined workers at their sit-in and noted the federal government gave billions of dollars to banks.

"I am here to announce we put some pressure on these forces so these factories can stay open and workers can keep their jobs," Blagojevich said. He said he would seek a court order Tuesday.

Mark Meinster of the United Electrical Workers Union told NBC News Monday night that a meeting Monday between workers and officials of the company and the bank had been "productive."

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"I'm one step below cautiously optimistic," he said, "but that's better than (Sunday)."

Meinster said the parties would meet again Tuesday, but he said if the matter is not resolved by Wednesday there would be a "massive protest" in Chicago.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told WLS-TV, Chicago, he would prefer sitting down with bank officials to see if they will change their minds.

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., said the company has agreed to open its books and he plans to inspect them. He said he wants to make sure company officials are being forthright and not planning to shut down in Chicago only to open someplace where it is less expensive to do business.

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